Baseball Magazine

Knowledge Vs Judgement

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Let’s face it.  Teenagers can be tough to work with.  Most parents of teenagers struggle to deal with one or maybe two.  Coaching 15-25 isn’t always a box of chocolates either.  On that note, try being a high school teacher who has to deal with over 100 per day.  Every school day.  I love it but it’s not easy.

There are many reasons why coaching teenagers can be tough.  Mood swings.  Relationship drama.  Drug and alcohol issues.  Egos.  You name it.  I think one of the bigger problems that seems to be getting worse is the gap between knowledge and judgment.  I think technology is to blame.

How baseball judgment used to be formed!

How baseball judgment used to be formed!


Kids today have the world in the palm of their hands.  Literally.  It’s called a cell phone.  Anything they need information on they can just Google and in a fraction of a second they can be handed pages of answers.  Need a paper for English class?  Just Google it and find tons already written online.  Need to throw more strikes?  Just go to Baseball By The Yard and check out a post or video on the subject!

But kids often think that knowledge is the same thing as judgment.  It’s not.  That’s why incredibly smart kids can do some incredibly dumb things.  Lots of knowledge but very little judgment.  This has actually been studied.  One such study indicated that kids at a particular school who were given extensive driver ed classroom training had MORE accidents than kids at another school that had no classroom training at all.  The conclusion?  Kids who had the training thought they were better drivers because of the increased knowledge and ended up taking more risks on the road.  Even though they had more knowledge about the rules of the road, they didn’t have the judgment skills when it came to things like  measuring distances and the timing of turns when cars were approaching.  Thus the accidents.

We run into similar things in coaching.  With private lessons, video analysis, year-round baseball programs, etc., kids are exposed to a ton of information about proper mechanics, hitting theories, and opinions about every aspect of the game.  So why don’t they know when to go from 1st to 3rd base when they are actually on the bases?  The answer is because knowledge is not judgment.  Anyone can get knowledge.  Judgement comes from experience and time on the field. 

In my opinion, this growing gap between knowledge and judgment is another byproduct of organized ball structured, organized, and run solely by adults.  When the older generations played baseball, it was outside in some kid’s backyard or in the street.  No adults and tons of at-bats.  When you ran the bases, there were no base coaches telling you when to go and when to stay.  You had to figure it out on your own using your own judgment.  That’s how we learned to play the game and that’s how we developed judgment in the process.

This is why I’m a huge fan of turning more of the game over to the players.  Let them call their own games.  Let them decide when to bunt.  Let the determine the good pitch counts to steal on.  Help them with the knowledge of the game but let them develop their judgment skills on their own.  It’s better for them and I think for the game as well.

“If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there,

you’ll be amazed at the results.”

- General George S. Patton


Tomorrow’s (video) post:  Checking the runner at 3rd base

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